Step 4: Commit
Are you ready?
After you and your student have studied the options and discussed with the counselor what is best for your student, it's time to make a commitment. Each of us - the parent, the student and the school - must be committed to the same goal, and that's a successful learning experience for your student.
While the student will be expected to do the work, family support is important. Online learning isn't easy just because it's on the web. All of the requirements are the same as regular classes, but the work is self-directed. This means students work independently, meet deadlines and need to seek out help on their own. There is no regularly scheduled class. Your student's friends may not have on the same course online, so there isn't the same student-to-student support as in a traditional class.
On the plus side, online courses can provide schedule and course flexibility your student may not be able to find any other way. And learning to work in an online learning environment will be a good skill. If your student and family are ready, the final step before starting an online course is our Online Course Contract. This contract details the expectations of your student, the support you'll provide to him or her, and the support provided by the school district. This lets the student know it's a team effort: we are all working together for student success.
Parent and Student Questions
Before you commit your student to taking a class online, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a quiet space where your student can focus on his/her work?
- Do you have the computer equipment and internet access necessary for your student to complete all course assignments at home?
- Do you, or another member of your family, have the time to support, encourage and motivate your student?
- Will you make the time to understand all the course deadlines, and make contact with the online teacher, to ensure you can keep your student on track?
You should have a conversation with your student regarding the commitment necessary to complete an online course. Ask:
- Are you prepared to commit at least one hour per day, and usually more, to this class?
- Will you manage your schedule so you can meet all deadlines and attend all mandatory school meetings for this class?
- Will you make sure to ask for help when you need it, to ensure you don't fall behind?
If your answers to these questions are yes, and you're satisfied online learning is the best option for your student, you're ready to sign a contract with your school. The Online Learning Contract outlines what each signing party - you, your student and the school - will do to insure your student is successful in the online learning experience.